How to Choose a Salesforce Consulting Partner (New Consulting Marketplace)

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Choosing which System Integrator (SIs) to trust with your Salesforce org is a major undertaking. Also known as Salesforce consultancies, these organizations make up the services arm of Salesforce’s partner network, implementing and optimizing Salesforce for its customers.

The Salesforce consultancy landscape is both unique and puzzling, which can make it difficult for outsiders to navigate. Having worked on the SI side myself, I know that what makes a good consultancy-client match is down to a number of factors, which can be hard to pinpoint. Right now, you will have a number of sources of information (or misinformation). You could say that it’s also down to luck.

What’s more taxing, is that consultancies tend to look the same on the surface, offering implementation for Salesforce’s most popular products and managed services for ongoing support – as well as a promise to deliver “digital transformation”.

Two months ago, we introduced InVisory, who provide “Gartner Style” advisory services for the AppExchange. Their new offering is a consulting engagement platform that will aid organizations in making a more informed choice – and we believe it’s going to be game-changing.

READ MORE: Introducing InVisory: “Gartner Style” Advisory for the AppExchange

How to Select a Salesforce Consulting Partner

When approaching the vast consulting partner network, you have a handful of sources at your disposal:

  • Conduct your own research: It’s not only time-consuming to sit through multiple discovery sessions, it could also leave you more confused than when you started.
  • Ask your Salesforce Account Executive: They will be able to share (hopefully unbiased) recommendations.
  • Trust branding: Be drawn to the consultancies with the most attractive brand, or those that are most visible in the ecosystem.
  • Ask your network: Reach out to similar organizations’ recommendations.
  • Go for the cheapest: Line items go into the “SoW black box”, which are challenging to decipher. Are the SoWs containing more items/higher costs taking advantage? Or are those with less items/lower costs not considering your requirements fully?
  • Certifications: Make your selection based on the number of credentials.
  • AppExchange reviews: Make your selection based on the number of reviews on this marketplace or other third-party marketplaces.

Sure, these information sources could ‘come out trumps’ for you. On the flip side, you could fall prey to confusion, bias, and – to put it simply – the ever-changing industry. Your CRM initiative could end up a casualty, joining the shocking number of failed projects.

Are the Right Consultants Hiding in Plain Sight?

As we’ve established, the Salesforce consultancy landscape is unique and puzzling. There are new SIs springing up every quarter, vying for their chance at success.

Many strong SIs could deliver high-quality work, but they are disadvantaged by their lack of visibility in the market – so both prospective customers and Salesforce account executives lose out on a wider choice.

Select a Salesforce Consulting Partner: A Better Way

How can you effectively identify the most suitable SIs for your upcoming initiative? Let’s introduce some ‘science’ into this choice.

Using their proprietary algorithm, InVisory is the first ‘on the scene’ to plug this gap. As a tech-enabled data analytics company, in simple terms, they conduct SI market analysis and a vetting process with each SI featured on their platform.

SI categorization involves generating profiles for SIs based on:

  • Skills and area/s of expertise
  • Certifications
  • Rating/density on completed projects
  • Methodology and tools
  • Market sentiment analysis
  • Support for specific use cases/project needs

InVisory then passes that advice on to their clients. Customers share project requirements with InVisory, who input the information into their engagement platform. The output is highly likely to align the right resources to organizations’ projects, at a fair cost and terms, while not sacrificing the quality of the work that will be delivered.

What’s in It for SIs?

SIs face hurdles when going to market to build brand awareness – that’s before they face the challenge of maintaining a reputable name and keeping projects profitable. InVisory aims to give deserving SIs the spotlight to showcase exactly what they are capable of delivering (and not just who they know).

The obvious gain from this partnership is lead generation. SIs will also benefit hugely from a faster time to close deals (as prospects are pre-qualified, to an extent), and have been educated on the importance of intangible factors (often considered expensive ‘extras’) such as project management and business analysis.

Finally, Salesforce Account Executives and Partner Account Managers are set to benefit too. If you work in these roles, there’s already enough on your plate without the recommendations keeping you up at night. What’s needed here is an advocate to help you effectively understand the SI lifecycle process, and in turn, share better, more useful recommendations.

An increase in services work will lead to a greater Salesforce license footprint within the account. As you can imagine, when customers have conversations with SIs, they start to paint a vision of how Salesforce can extend to benefit their operations (beyond the existing project).

Summary

Having introduced InVisory earlier this year, it’s great to see them find their place in the market with their unique consulting engagement platform. Time is a valuable commodity in this industry – as is trustworthy expertise – and in a busy landscape, it’s a near impossible task for organizations to make a truly informed decision with speed and confidence.

In cutting through the white noise and using data-driven analytics to provide real recommendations, InVisory have been able to tailor their services to meet organizations’ specific needs – it’s all about what you know, not who!

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